COGS, CAPS hold World Suicide Prevention Day on campus
On Sept. 10, the mental health committee within the Council of Graduate Students, or COGS, with the help Counseling and Psychiatric Services, or CAPS, host MSU’s first-ever World Suicide Prevention Day on campus.
“The ultimate goal is simply to increase awareness, to educate and to activate as many people on campus to develop an individual responsibility to save the lives of other people by preventing suicide,” CAPS Director Mark Patishnock said.
Patishnock said he hopes the event gives people information they need to allow them to address suicide prevention.
“I think this all starts with an awareness that there is a need to empower people with information and to hopefully activate and inspire them to have these conversations that really can lead to lives being saved.”
Events happening throughout the day include free Biggby coffee outside of Wells Hall, an interactive exhibit at the Broad Art Museum, an “S Word” documentary screening and a panel for open dialogue and support.
“This is just an excellent way for us to fight the stigma and the silence, so that other people that experience this can ask for help,” committee leader Reid Blanchett said.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for college students.
“We had the idea to make an exhibit on a canvas with 1,100 suicide prevention ribbons on it, which is the number of people that commit suicide on college campuses every year,” committee member Siobhan Cusack said. “We have that on one side and on the other side there will be sticky notes where people can write messages of support to people who are struggling.”
Suicide is actually fairly widespread and most people have some degree or connection to suicide in their life in some way, shape or form, Patishnock said.
“One thing that I really wanted to work on as part of the COGS mental health committee was looking at trying to get more event programming,” committee member Kaitlyn Casulli said. “We have Mental Health Awareness Week, but that only goes so far. It’s an excellent week planned with events, but I think we really need to focus on mental health and suicide, and get the word out there and reduce the stigma.”
CAPS also has a panel that can give people the opportunity to start dialogue about suicide and let students know what resources are available to them.
“Suicide can be a very sensitive and difficult topic,” Patishnock said. “The purpose of the panel is to really provide an opportunity following the video ... to really be able to have a forum to have people share their reactions, to share information and resources, and to be a space where people can actually process the, perhaps very unsettling, nature of what the documentary serves to expose.”
For more information about the event, interested individuals can search for COGS World Suicide Prevention Day on Facebook.